SCA 979-987. Excerpts from an interview with sports writer John Hanc of New York Newsday, which took place in New York on 19 November 1989.
John Hanc: How does running fit in with your teaching?
Sri Chinmoy: It perfectly fits in with our philosophy. Prayer and meditation always remind us of our inner running. The only difference between the outer running and the inner running is that in the inner running there is no set goal or destination. In the outer running, as soon as I have finished one hundred metres, let us say, the race is over. I may not win, but I have reached my goal. But in the inner running, we are Eternity’s runner. Because we pray and meditate, we know that we have three friends: Eternity, Infinity and Immortality. Because we belong to Eternity, Infinity and Immortality, our journey is birthless and deathless; it has no beginning and no end. We have already started our journey and we are never going to end it. Along the way we may have certain temporary goals. But as soon as we reach these goals, they only become the starting point for new and higher goals.
Before we enter into the spiritual life, we want to possess the world. Our goal, let us say, is to become richer than the richest and to lord it over others like a Napoleon or Julius Caesar. Then gradually we come to realise that there is no satisfaction in this kind of life. We begin to reduce our material greed and diminish our desires. At the same time, we start trying to increase our positive qualities.
Take love, for example. As a child we start out by loving only our dear ones — the members of our immediate family. Then, after some time, we begin to claim the village where we were born as our own. Then we begin loving our district, our province, our country. But even this is not enough. At the United Nations all the nations are trying to become one. So we try to become citizens of the world and love the entire world. Like Socrates, we say, “I am not an Athenian; I am a universal man.” So you see how much progress we can make in a positive way. This is our philosophy: anything that is bad — fear, doubt, anxiety, worry, suspicion and so on — we shall decrease, and anything that is good we shall increase. On the positive side, we shall start with an iota of love and expand it until it becomes universal love. There is no end to the amount of love we can have; we can keep expanding it until it encompasses not only God the creation but also God the Creator, who is infinite. When we run in the inner world, we are running along the Road of Eternity, and we just continue, continue, continue.
The inner runner and the outer runner are like two brothers. The older, stronger brother can run a very long distance. But the younger one becomes tired after a certain distance because in the physical we are limited. Not only in the physical, but also in the mind and the vital we are limited. So after some time the outer brother takes rest and then he starts again — following the inner brother who is going on and on.
But even on the outer plane our capacity is constantly expanding. Right now 1,300 miles is our longest race. To run 1,300 miles in 18 days is almost beyond our imagination. We feel that is our ultimate capacity. But previously we felt that 1,000 miles was the limit. Who thought of a 1,300-mile race five years ago? At that time people would have thought I was a crazy man if I had suggested that. But now you see that this crazy man was right because people are doing it. Somebody just has to start. We always have to go ahead because life means progress.
The inner runner is always trying to inspire the outer runner. First the inner runner says, “Go forward, go forward, go ahead, go ahead!” Then the outer runner says, “How can I go ahead if you do not give me the aspiration and inner cry?” Then the inner runner gives the outer runner the inner cry to do something and to become something good. In this way the inner runner offers inspiration and aspiration to the outer runner.